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Movies

Darren Haruo Rae

By Film, Movies, TV No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, host Gary Scott Thomas had a fascinating conversation with our guest, Darren Haruo Rae, a Japanese-American producer and director based in Los Angeles. Darren shares his journey from being a movie enthusiast to becoming an accomplished filmmaker.

Darren’s love for film was sparked by his father’s passion for movies and his extensive laserdisc collection. Tune into this insightful episode where they also talked about assessing one’s own work, learning by doing, understanding commercial filming vs. authentic performances, and much more!

Filmmaking isn’t just about what you see on screen; it’s also about those behind-the-scenes heroes who make magic happen every day.

This episode is sponsored by:

In This Episode:

  • The Genesis of a Filmmaker
  • The Academic Pursuit 
  • A Nostalgic Affair with Physicality
  • Influences Inspirations 
  • Behind-the-Scenes Intricacies
  • Self-assessment and Growth 
  • The Art Of Compromise In Filmmaking    
  • Directorial Philosophy  
  • Casting Decisions And Actor Inputs   
  • Persistence, Patience, and Timing 
  • Physical Fitness In Cinema
  • Representation And Diversity  
  • Respect For Personal Stories   
  • The Importance Of Storytelling   
  • Historical Events As Source Material  
  • Remembering History Through Film
  • Cultural Expectations And Screenwriting  
  • Superhero Movies And Corporate Control 
  • Balancing Commercial Work With Personal Projects 
  • Dream Collaborations 

Quotations:

“I think a big part of being a director is that, essentially, you’re the one that has to pull the plug and say, that’s good enough.” ~ Darren Haruo Rae

“It’s really just making yourself available and just believing yourself and staying, you know, true to yourself and even just hoping that opportunity will come.” ~ Darren Haruo Rae

“The biggest thing I can tell them is, 1, Just make stuff. Even if you don’t feel ready, just make stuff.” ~ Darren Haruo Rae

“The point of the director, in my opinion, is being able to facilitate your actors, being able to work with photographer, your production designer, and your sound designer; you’re the person at the moment having to make the decisions. You’re the yes or no.” ~ Darren Haruo Rae

Guest’s Bio:

Darren Haruo Rae is a Japanese-American producer and director based in Los Angeles who co-founded the boutique production company Roann Films. He has directed high-profile commercials and branded content for clients such as Western Digital, Airbnb, and Cisco. Rae’s directorial debut, Park Arcadia, garnered Best Screenplay at the 2014 International Film Festival Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles. His latest film, Nisei, inspired by his Japanese-American grandfather’s WWII experiences in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, earned Best Drama and Audience Choice at the 2023 Poppy Jasper Film Festival and continues its festival circuit, screening at Indy Shorts by Heartland Film, LA Shorts International Film Festival, HollyShorts Film Festival, and Cinequest Film Festival.

Currently, Rae is the series producer for the MasterClass G.O.A.T. Original Series and is producing the feature film Surrender, starring Andrea Bang. Surrender was selected as one of Film Independent’s Fast Track fellowship program’s top 10 narrative fiction features and is slated for production in 2023.

Guest’s Contact Info:

Fortune Feimster

By Comedian, Film, Fun, Movies, Personal Growth, TV No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, our host Gary Scott Thomas had a fascinating conversation with Hollywood’s comedy sensation, Fortune Feimster. For over two decades, Fortune has been crafting an innovative, inclusive, and unparalleled career. Whether she’s on stage, in the radio studio, or on screen, her contagious and joyous comedy continues to touch lives and bring people together every day. Fortune shared her career journey, starting from humble beginnings in a small town to achieving success in Hollywood through sheer determination, hard work, humor, and a dash of luck. Her continued humility despite her growth is truly inspiring!

Join us in this exciting episode and hear more of Fortune’s story about her comedic techniques and future aspirations. With opportunities rolling in as quickly as punchlines, it’s evident that this determined and unflinching comedian is just beginning her remarkable journey. Indeed, Fortune Feimster is making waves everywhere.

Be sure to check her tour schedule to see if she’s performing in a city near you and experience her extraordinary talent in person!

This episode is sponsored by:

(Use my promo code “GST” on their website and enjoy an exclusive 10% discount on your favorite shoes!)

In This Episode:

  • Fotune’s Humble Beginnings
  • Career Progression
  • Upcoming Events
  • Netflix Special Projects
  • Acting Techniques
  • Future Goals
  • The Power of Podcasting

Quotations:

“I was like a kid in a candy store.” ~ Fortune Feimster

“I just couldn’t believe that they were like taking that kind of time with even someone like me who was such a small part of that.” ~ Fortune Feimster

“At this point, I’ll take anything to make whatever part of my body I could use to make people laugh, I’ll use it.” ~ Fortune Feimster

“I think stand-up will always be part of my career just because it’s the one medium that you have complete control over. It’s a way to connect to your audience without any middleman, and I really love that part of my business. And I think it’s the thing that has made people get to know me the most and, uh, understand who I am as a person.” ~ Fortune Feimster

Guest’s Bio:

Fortune Feimster, a stand-up comedian, writer, and actor known for her affable and charismatic presence, wields her unique brand of confessional comedy to unite people from all walks of life. You can catch Fortune across various media platforms, whether through radio broadcasts, appearances on both the big and small screens or during her nationwide stand-up comedy tours. Her first one-hour special, Sweet & Salty, is currently available for streaming on Netflix and earned a well-deserved nomination for Best Comedy Special at the Critics’ Choice Awards. Prior to this, Netflix showcased her talents in a half-hour special as part of The Standups in 2018, which garnered enthusiastic reviews. Fortune has graced late-night television with memorable sets on Conan and Late Night with Seth Meyers. She also boasts another acclaimed half-hour special on Comedy Central. Starting her career in Los Angeles as a member of the esteemed Groundlings Sunday Company, Fortune first gained national recognition as a writer and panelist on E’s popular show Chelsea Lately. This was followed by series regular roles on Hulu’s The Mindy Project and NBC’s Champions. Her versatile talent has led to numerous guest appearances and recurring roles on a variety of TV shows, including Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Dear White People, Drunk History, Claws, 2 Broke Girls, Workaholics, Glee, Idiotsitter, Tales of the City, The L Word: Generation Q, Life in Pieces, and @Midnight.

On the silver screen, Fortune has made her mark in films like Office Christmas Party, Social Animals, Father of the Year, and Yes Day. Her distinctive voice can be recognized in various animated roles, such as Evelyn on The Simpsons, Brenda on Fox’s Bless the Harts, and Ava on Cartoon Network’s Summer Camp. Fortune can be heard alongside Tom Papa on Sirius XM’s channel 93 in their show, What a Joke with Papa and Fortune, every morning. She also co-hosts a weekly podcast with her partner, Jax, aptly named Sincerely Fortune.Her career has continued to flourish with recurring appearances on Lights Out with David Spade on Comedy Central. Currently, she stars alongside David Spade in the new Netflix series, The Netflix Afterparty. You can also catch her playing Pam on NBC’s Kenan or Pinky in the recently released Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar. Not limited to her on-screen endeavors, Fortune’s creative prowess extends to writing. She has co-written and sold two comedy pilots to ABC, with one of them produced by the esteemed Tina Fey. Additionally, she is set to co-write and star in two feature films, Bad Cop Bad Cop and Field Trip, both acquired by Spielberg’s Amblin Pictures.

Guest’s Contact Info:

Michael McLeavy

By Fun, Movies, Music, Personal Growth, TV No Comments

This week, we had an insightful discussion with Michael McLeavy, a renowned singer from Glasgow, Scotland, who shared his musical odyssey, from forming his own rock band to touring extensively. In the journey of life, it’s often our passions that guide us towards a fulfilling career path, and his story is one of determination and seizing opportunities, a testament to how impactful inspirations like Elvis Presley can shape our style and vision.

Tune in to hear more about how Michael and his ventures brought him into contact with notable personalities within the entertainment industry, further expanding his network.

A key takeaway? Be open to new experiences, as they may lead you down unexpected paths filled with potential growth opportunities.

This episode is sponsored by:

In This Episode:

  • The Birth of a Star
  • Rocking the World
  • Lights, Camera, Action!
  • A Beautiful Bond: A Relationship with Sharon Tate
  • Meeting an Icon: An Encounter With Elvis Presley
  • Island Life and Hustle: Work Experience In Hawaii
  • Wisdom Gained Along The Way: Life Lessons

Quotations:

“How can we do to improve ourselves? Well, you know, don’t let the old man in, as Clint Eastwood says, keep the old man out. Right. So do the things that you still like to do, that you did do, and within reason, do it.”  ~ Michael McLeavy

“I did it. Because the challenge was there. There’s always a challenge. You need some sort of challenge.” ~ Michael McLeavy

Guest’s Bio:

Michael McLeavy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and his journey in the world of music began with the renowned Rock N Roll band “The Fireflies.” He Came to the United States to further his career and to meet Elvis Presley in person. His fortune smiled upon him, as he had the incredible opportunity to spend the day with him on the set of one of his movies, “Spinout”, and backstage at the International (Hilton) in Las Vegas. Notably, Michael had the privilege of performing the American, Canadian, and British National Anthems at the Highland Games in Dana Point, California, on August 24th and 25th, 2013. Also, he had the distinct honor of delivering both the American and British National Anthems at the British American Business Council Orange County on December 2nd, 2016. Michael has lived in Dana Point with his wife, Linda, since 1989.

He is an Entertainer and just released his latest CD, “Try A Little Kindness” recorded in Nashville, Tennessee.

Guest’s Contact Info:

Buzz Leer

By Fun, Movies, TV No Comments

This episode is sponsored by Habana Cuba. Get 15% off when you use the code “Gary” online or tell it to your server in person.

You’ve probably seen him on TV or heard his voice. He’s an actor, voice-over artist, model, and so much more. We talked about his career change from being a teacher to acting. We talked about what it was like to go on a date with cameras following him and even the doctor’s office!

Some of the places you might recognize him from:

⚡️ Chicago PD
⚡️ Chicago Med
⚡️ neXt
⚡️ American Greed
⚡️ House Detective

Feature Films:
⚡️ “Christmas is Cancelled” with Dermot Mulroney
⚡️ “Reveler” Shudder TV
⚡️ “Being Ian” Thomas Pace Productions
⚡️ ”Silent as a Grave” BP Productions

Also in this episode:

  • Taking an Uber to the hospital when he was having a heart attack
  • Dating in your 70s
  • Modeling

Watch the YouTube video:

Quotations:

“It’s gonna take a while. Right? And, and it’s doing that, and it’s funny because you are starting a new career, and you’re learning, even at this age, it’s gonna take a while.” Gary Scott Thomas

“I never had anything to do with a stage at all, all the way through high school.” ~Buzz Leer

“I haven’t had as much, uh, opportunity in TV, and that’s what I’m waiting for. I’m just waiting for that moment when they’re gonna give me that opportunity.” ~Buzz Leer

Bio:

Currently in Los Angeles, represented for TV/Film by Carole Dibo Talent Management, Taylor Talent Services for Commercial, Host… Represented in Chicago by Gray Talent Group (TV/Film)10 Management Agency and Looks Pro Models Chicago, IL, The Block Agency, Nashville, Moore Creative, Minneapolis, Betty’s Talent, Miami ….I am currently a working actor, model, voice-over artist, live event host. Moving to Chicago 6 years ago, my recent Chicago live theatre credits include; Citizen / Townsperson, AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE at The Goodman Theatre, Doc Gibb OUR TOWN, Jamie I SAW MY NEIGHBOR ON THE TRAIN AND DIDN’T EVEN SMILE, and Swifty Lazar / Mike Wallace FROST/NIXON at The Redtwist Theatre. Alice Cooper in WAYNES WORLD and the Narrator in OFFICE SPACE at The Uptown Underground Theatre. TV credits include NEXT, Fox TV, Guest Star, Chicago PD, Guest Star, several national/local commercials, and infomercials, and was the Host of HGTV’S HOUSE DETECTIVE for five seasons (65 episodes). Multiple Short and Feature Films, including the most recent low-budget SAG Film, BEING IAN, Supporting Actor, and upcoming Supporting Role in SILENT AS THE GRAVE.

A Minneapolis, MN native and a graduate of The University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND ( BFA Degree/ Acting / Communication).